Mon, Nov 07, 2005 - Page 20 News List

Ericsson starts out with victory near Sanxenxo


Sweden's Ericsson team took the lead Saturday on the first day of the Volvo Ocean Race, winning an in-port race off the coast of Sanxenxo, Spain.

Under sunshine and clear skies, a lack of wind delayed the start for more than an hour. Skippered by Briton Neal McDonald, Ericcson then took a quick lead which it never relinquished, with Sweden's Prince Carl Philip onboard.

Thousands lined the Galician inlet's coastline and many took to the sea in all sorts of vessels to follow the race.

Ericsson will start next Saturday's first of nine offshore legs with 3.5 points. The first leg is 11,850km from nearby Vigo to Cape Town, South Africa.

Ericsson covered the 55.5km triangular course in 1 hour, 51 minutes and 29 seconds.

Brasil 1 was second in 1:54.55 to earn 3 points. The US' Pirates of the Caribbean, with Spain's Princess Cristina on board, has 2.5 points after finishing third in 1:56.30. Spain's Movistar, with sailing enthusiast King Juan Carlos as its guest, was a further 43 seconds back and has 2 points.

The Netherlands' ABN Amro Two was fifth in 2:00:07.

It was the first time in the event's 22-year history that the competition did not start in England. The race totals 58,000km and finishes in June at the Swedish port of Gothenburg.

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